Water scheme for Dalits inaugurated
Solan, June 24
Himachal Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal inaugurated a Rs 34 lakh lift drinking water supply scheme at Oeli, 25 km from here today. This scheme would benefit over 600 persons living in scattered hamlets in the Oeli Majholi area of gram panchayat Ser-Banera. Over 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are dalits who had to trudge long distances to fetch a bucket of water. Earlier, smiles spread and faces lit up as the Chief Minister opened the ceremonial tap.
Later, addressing a public meeting at Oeli, Mr Dhumal said that the Union Government had sanctioned a Rs 300 crore scheme, under its accelerated power development programme for Himachal. The first instalment of Rs 25 crore had already been received, of which Rs 3.5 crore had been earmarked for Solan district. A sizeable part of this would be spent on replacing old electric meters with energy efficient electronic meters.
He said that his government had accorded top priority to health education and roads, adding that he had increased the budgetry allocations for the social sector from the previous Congress governmentís mere Rs 356 cr to 942 crore.
He said that 2000 kms of roads had been constructed during the present governmentís three years in office. The previous government could construct only 19000 kms in a span of over 50 years. Similarly 2100 kms of roads had been metalled during the last three years whereas the previous govts could metal only 8000 km.
Referring to the development of this district, Mr Dhumal said that he had sanctioned subsidies and support prices to the growers of vegetables and citrus and stone fruits on the same pattern. This met a long-standing demand of the farmers of this district who had been feeling discriminated against, in the past.
A regulated market had been sanctioned for the national highway town of Dharampur. A Rs four crore regulated market was first coming up at Solan bye-pass and was expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The new buildings of the local bus stand, a zonal hospital and the sub-jail was under progress. Rs 80 lakh had been sanctioned under the Prime Ministerís Gram Sarak Yojana. It was proposed to construct 113 km of new roads and metal 53 km during the current year, rupees three crore had been sanctioned for the construction of additional school rooms under the Saraswati Bal Vidya Yojana, 45 hand pumps were installed in Solan constituency area alone last year. A Rs 1.32 crore scheme for augmenting existing electricity lines and transformers infrastructure had been allocated for Solan for the current year.
He said that the state government had nothing to do with the enforcement of userís charges in the state hospitals. He said that the decision was taken by the various hospital welfare societies created for the purpose of optimising the quality of health services being provided by the state-run health institutions. He, however, defended the levying of userís charges on ground of necessity. ďThe poor had been fully exempted. Only those who had the capacity to pay and were not in the habit of paying were being made to pay for the services availed by themĒ. Mr Ramesh Chand, IPH Minister said that all villages in this district would be provided with potable water services by the year 2003. He invited proposals from the public for the construction of water harvest structures in the district. Mr H.N. Singh Saini, Minister of State for Town & Country Planning, State Marketing Board Chairman Mr Virendra Kashyap and the local MLA, Mr Rajiv Bindal also spoke.
Mr Dhumal later inaugurated the new premises of the local press room at the childrenís park, situated on The Mall here.
He also laid the foundation stone of a tribal students hostel at the local government post-graduate college.